As always, I want to start by thanking everyone who has been supporting Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac thus far. It’s been an incredible journey, and to see reviews come in – from people I know as well as people I don’t know – is a wonderful thing. I’m so thrilled that this book has been helping people with various aspects of their own physical, sexual, emotional, or mental trauma.
There is a lot to Shattered, of course – and for those who haven’t read it yet, I’m going to spoil the big reveal in my next blog on Monday, October 2 (so hurry up and grab your copy! Purchase links are at the bottom of this blog!). But by now, it’s pretty evident that readers know my brain is a mess. That is nothing new.
But something even bigger is new. And it’s slowly coming to light.
Do I have retrograde amnesia? Absolutely. That was confirmed August 24, 2010, and then re-evaluated (and once again confirmed) by a neurologist approximately a month later. There is no doubt as to the validity of my traumatic brain injury.
Then what, exactly, could cause the incident that I’m about to post as this week’s blog – an excerpt from the memoir that I had to cut in order to save some space – to occur? And if such a thing could occur to me – is it possible that it can occur to any of us, especially those of us who have been through trauma in our lives?
It’s something to consider as you read about what happened to me in early 2001, and find out exactly how broken I really am.
The following day, Jess takes the little used sports car we just purchased to work, and I walk. It’s cold, and it’s snowing just a little, but I can see the back of my store. I’m almost there.
That’s when a random white car drives by and stops. As the door opens, I’m pushed into the backseat. When I scream, something is held to my face. I black out, and when I come to, I’m on the side of the road, my skirt torn.
I still have my purse, which is odd. I reach under my skirt – no blood or pain. I haven’t been raped. I touch my face – it doesn’t feel sore. What in the hell just happened to me?
I wobble as I make my way into Bon-Ton, and the boss sees me. She pulls me into her office, makes a cup of hot tea for me to hold, and asks what’s wrong.
“Someone tried to kidnap me,” I say. “It happened again. I just woke up on the side of the road behind the store.”
I’m in shock as she calls the police, and my coworker Lorna comes in. She hugs me and starts to cry. “This is so unfair to you,” she says. “This shouldn’t happen.”
I look at my boss. “You know I’m going to quit,” I tell her.
She looks at me and nods.
When the police arrive, they document every detail. They ask if I saw license plates – and I did, but all I could make out is that they were PA plates and nothing else. They check the tear in my skirt. They ask if I want to go to the hospital. When I say no – nothing is broken, and I haven’t been raped – they frown, but then drive me to the police station. I call Jess, tell him what’s happened, and let him know I’m safe. The police are on this, I say. I’ll be just fine.
But when they ask me to try to identify the face of the person who pulled me into the car, I can’t. I think I can discern some features – a larger nose, smaller eyes, dark hair. But that’s it.
“It happened so quickly,” I say. “I don’t remember much. It’s like it never happened.”
Jess takes me to dinner at a chain restaurant that night. We talk about the incident. I’m exhausted and pale, my face puffy from crying. I can barely eat.
The next morning, a police officer calls my cell phone. “We need you to come in,” he says. “There’s something you need to see.”
And what he shows me makes me vomit on the carpet.
Nothing has happened to me. Unless someone has erased the footage, there were cameras hooked up to the light posts on our main road – a perk of the crossover suburban/urban living arrangement – and I see myself, in my skirt, holding my purse, walking on the side of the road. Then, as a white car passes, I look at it, and immediately fall to the ground. No one else passes by as I remain unconscious for about 10 minutes. Then I stand up, check my clothing, grab my purse, and wobble my way to the Bon-Ton in tears.
“I don’t understand,” I say. “I felt someone grab me. My skirt was torn. You saw it!”
“It looks like it tore when you fell,” the officer says. “You landed at a funny angle. That would have caused it to rip.”
“But I – I don’t pass out. I take medication. I go to work. I don’t lie about things like this.”
“Here’s the deal,” the officer says, and he sits next to me. “No one thinks you’re lying. Not a person here thinks that you did this for attention. In fact, I am one hundred percent convinced that you still believe that this happened.”
“Because it did!”
The officer shakes his head. “But you know it didn’t,” he says. “You have proof. Look, I spoke to someone who told me about your medical condition. It causes your brain to hallucinate. This whole event? Something must have caused you to pass out and create a false memory.”
I gaze at him, still in shock. “You spoke to someone about my disorder?” I ask. “Who?”
I am furious. Officers and attorneys know one another, but how did this all play out? I had no idea. How did one contact the other? I barely spoke to my parents by that point, other than to check on my brother.
“He doesn’t know what’s going on,” I say. “He’s not a reliable source.”
“But neither are you,” the officer replies. “I think that maybe your medications made you pass out. They made you hallucinate. Maybe you should see your therapist.”
“So now I’m just some crazy liar?” I ask. “So now no one will ever believe me about the times I was raped, or actually was kidnapped? All of the times I have hard evidence that backs up every fucking thing I’m saying right here to you?”
“You’re not crazy,” he says. “You just need help. And yes, other events did happen to you. Those things are in the database. We know you’ve had your fair share of traumatic experiences dealing with rape, abuse, and kidnapping. But, shock aside, this is not one of them. I’m sorry.”
I leave the station in tears, go back to my apartment, and fall on the couch.
I would have sworn it was real.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out who I really am, and learn a bit more about the truth to my story (besides being an amnesiac who still can’t recall most things from my birth to age 28).
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